Some girls dream of growing up to be president. Others want to be fairy princesses or law clerks. But for nearly half her life, 26-year-old "Palela Alderson" has wanted to be a prostitute.
"As a teenager [in Italy] I would watch these sexy women walking the streets," she tells Green Pixels, "waiting for the cars to stop, teasing the guys, and then hopping in and getting out sometime later. I'm not sure why I find it such a turn-on. I think it's because when a man will pay to have you, you know he really desires you."
In time, Palela mustered the courage do more than just watch the streetwalkers do their thing. She made a legitimate stab at becoming a hooker herself. She chose an escort site, published photos of herself, and purchased a disposable mobile phone. She was excited. But when the calls started coming in, she pulled the plug.
"It wasn't that I didn't want to do it, not at all. It was because I was afraid of being discovered by my family. They would have never accepted it, and I didn't want to hurt them or make them ashamed of me."
You see, Palela is from a close-knit middle-class family. She lives with her brother. She is a college graduate with a degree in communications and holds a job she loves.
Palela left her dreams by the roadside. But they didn't die there. Thanks to Second Life, she's been given a second chance at the world's oldest profession.
"The first time I heard about Second Life was in 2006, when I read about it in a newspaper. I thought it sounded interesting but not really worth investigating. However, in the summer of 2007 I heard that there were sexual aspects to Second Life, and I had the idea that this could be a way to live out my dark fantasy life without my family finding out."
Palela joined Second Life a couple months later, created an avatar that she claims looks like her, set herself up as an online escort, and now has a regular roster of clients.
And as it so happens, Palela gets more than the chance to live out her dreams of high-class hooking through Second Life; she also gets a paycheck. For a full night of services (that's two to three hours of turning software into hardware), she earns a whopping 2000 to 3000 Linden Dollars. Mind you, in US Dollars that translates out to only $9 to $13. Nonetheless, the point is that she's earning real money for virtual prostitution.
That being said, Palela says she's not in it for the dough. "Money itself is not the reason I'm doing this. It's just that I get a thrill out of it."
Good to hear, Palela. Because $13 probably isn't even enough to cover your high-speed internet bill (or as the cyber-professional ladies like to call it: Overhead).